MCMINNVILLE, Ore. - Federal agents say an Iranian citizen lied to get across the U.S.-Canadian border and then stashed weapons near the border after transporting them from McMinnville, according to a court document.
Agents said last Tuesday night Oliver King crossed the border on a false passport telling customs he had to “pick up his wife at the Target store.” But agents followed him down Interstate 5 to McMinnville, watched him pull up to an office building he leases which is a gun shop, load up boxes and drive back to Ferndale, Wash.
There in a storage unit, agents said they found a stash of $30,000 worth of law enforcement grade sniper rifles, handguns and ammunition. And on the boxes were shipping labels to “McMinnville, Oregon”.
Salem resident David Cross - not the ATF or customs agents - alerted various local police agencies after he saw an Associated Press story about the arrest of King.
“It troubled me in a post 9/11 world that a Canadian national could buy guns in McMinnville, Ore., and I looked at this and said, ‘uh oh, I wonder if our local state and county law enforcement officials have been contacted about this,” Cross said.
The local agencies said they didn’t know the McMinnville Hunting and Police Supplies gun shop existed.
The landlord said King signed a five-year lease last year but neighboring tenants have only seen a man twice, including last week.
A sign tacked onto a door says boxes are to be left down the hall with a real estate agent with Premier Northwest Real Estate. The real estate agent refused to comment.
Court records say King’s real name is Hamid Malekpour.
When confronted agents said King claimed to be a hunter but his guns and ammunition are not what a hunter would use.
The court document says King claimed to have a hunting license from North Dakota but it was just an image of an expired one. He did get a Canadian hunting license the same morning along with his new passport.
He reportedly told agents his was damaged in the wash but agents said they found it and it was just fine.
King has three visas for Iran, two from last year, and another from six weeks ago.
The gun shop is owned by someone else who the AP identifies as Amir Zarandi. But the gun shop is not listed on state or ATF records.
The landlord said he knows nothing about him other than he might be a California associate.
Court document: United States v. Oliver King, aka Hamid Malekpour